The Iran nuclear deal has been a historic negotiation, but not everyone is pleased with the promise of lower gas prices and diminished risk of nuclear war. Many conservatives are arguing that the deal was a “surrender,” that it compromised American values and safety.
At a press conference this past Wednesday, CBS News’s White House correspondent Major Garrett accused Obama of celebrating the Iran deal while four American prisoners still languished in Iranian jails.
"Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content with all the fanfare around this deal to leave the conscience of this nation, the strength of this nation unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?"
Obama shot back fiercely, stating that Garrett’s question was “nonsense.”
"The notion that I am content, as I celebrate, with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails — Major, that's nonsense. And you should know better," Obama said. "I've met with the families of some of those folks. Nobody's content, and our diplomats and our teams are working diligently to try to get them out."
He went on to explain why the Iran deal did not involve a negotiation about the prisoners’ release: if it had, Tehran could have used the hostages to press for “additional concessions” from the US.
"If we had walked away from the nuclear deal, we'd still be pushing just as hard to get these folks out. That's why those issues are not connected.”
In the aftermath, many argued that Garrett’s question was deeply offensive. CNN’s Dana Bash stated that:
"There's a fine line between asking a tough question and maybe crossing that line a little bit and being disrespectful, and I think that happened here."
Bill Maher was even more vehement in his censure:
#MajorGarrett is a huge a**hole. If U wanna "strike a nerve" with POTUS, why not just scream the N word? That shld get his attention.— Bill Maher (@billmaher) July 16, 2015
The Twitterverse was also abuzz:
But Garrett defended his decision, arguing that it’s “part of [his] job” to provoke answers, reactions.
"Sometimes you have to take a scolding from a president to get to an answer.”
Something tells us that Garrett did not get the answer he was looking for, but whatever helps him save face, right?